Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sex Pistols: 90 Days at EMI

Sex Pistols: 90 Days at EMI by Brian Southall

A few weeks ago, I ordered the 35th Anniversary Box Set of the Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks from Amazon.  Unfortunately, they did not get it in for the release date so I cancelled my order.  Fortunately, I was able to order it from Amazon UK.  While placing my order, I also found this book and ordered it.

At about 150 pages, the book is still a really quick read.  It is the story of the days of the first label of the Sex Pistols as written by the former head of the press department at EMI Records during this timeframe of Fall 1976.

The book starts out with stories of the live shows of the Sex Pistols and the name they are making for themselves in the music underground.  Lots of labels are trying to sign them.  They finally sign a 2 year deal for 40,000 pounds to record 2 albums.

After releasing their first single on November 26, 1976, "Anarchy in the UK"/"I Wanna Be Me",  they are ready to set out on the Anarchy tour with The Damned, The Clash,  and Johnny Thunder and the Heartbreakers.  This was the Chris Thomas recorded version of the song.

Prior to the start of the tour they make an appearance on the Today Show on December 1, 1976 almost again their wishes and that of the host Bill Grundy.  At the end of the show while hitting on Siouxsie Sue (who went on to front Siouxsie and the Banshees), Grundy coaxes Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones to say "fuck" on live TV.  Remember this was 1976 and a family oriented TV program.  It would have been like John Boy on the Waltons saying "fuck".

The Anarchy tour implodes as venues refuse to let the band play.  Radio stations refuse to play the single.  Stores refuse to sell it.  Pressing plants refuse to make it.  Mounting pressures from EMI's board of directors concerned with their loss of business to their military and medical equipment core businesses, the band is sacked from the label on January 6, 1977.

There are a few final pages of the book that discuss what happened to the Sex Pistols and the players at EMI originally responsible for signing them that are interesting.  Overall, I am glad I made this purchase, and learn somethings about the band that I was previously unaware of.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Perfect Youth

Perfect Youth - The Birth of Canadian Punk by Sam Sutherland

This book takes its name from the first LP by Canada's Pointed Sticks.  I love some of their tracks, and thru listening to DOA and other Canadian punk bands have grown an interest in the Canadian punk scene.  When I read a few months ago that this book was coming out, I had to get my hands on it to see what it was going to be about.  Till now, I was not aware of any book that covered the punk scenes across Canada similar to that of American Hardcore, Burning Britain, etc (some of the books at the top of the blog page).

The book is broken down into individual chapters that discuss the beginning eras of local scenes in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Winnipeg, Edmonton, the Eastern provinces, Hamilton, Victoria, Saskatchewan, and Ottawa.  There are also a few chapters dedicated primarily to an individual band: The Diodes, Pointed Sticks, DOA, Forgotten Rebels, The Mods, Subhumans, and Teenage Head.

Each chapter is a collection of facts about band releases, venues that supported the scene and/or were opened by members within the scene, and some interview quotes from members of the bands, their managers, and other prominent people with knowledge of what happened back in the day.

There are interesting stories about the band personalities.  I had never heard of the Viletones and was unaware of their singer having a punk persona that was a cross between Darby Crash and GG Allin.  Several of the leaders of the scene have gone on to wealthy careers in politics, as lawyers, as recording agents, etc.  In fact, one of the guys mentioned is the COO of Live Nation.

The scenes all had their challenges and unique personalities.  Some were strongly supported by the gay community.  Others had to create their own places to play that opposed the local musician unions.

Some, like DOA, toured endlessly back and forth across the country creating paths for others to follow.  While doing so, they also spurred local bands to start up and get up on stage.  I was also surprised to read about some of the bands playing quite frequently in NYC.

The book has open my eyes to a lot of bands that I had never heard of, and I will be in search of their music.  I wish they would have had discographies listed of the bands that they mention in each chapter.

If you have any interest in the first wave of Canadian punk across many regions and provinces, I would highly recommend this book.  It was a quick read for a 350+ page book.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Halloween Punk Compilation

Here is a compilation that I put together of Halloween themed punk, ska, psychobilly, etc. tunes for you to enjoy for the holiday at the end of the month.  Get in touch with me if you want a copy.

Track Listing:
01 Dead Kennedys - Halloween
02 Misfits - 20 Eyes
03 Misfits - All Hell Breaks Loose
04 Misfits - American Psycho
05 Lars Frederiksen & the Bastards - Army of Zombies
06 Misfits - Astro Zombies
07 Brains - Zombie Nation
08 Lillingtons - Zombies
09 Mighty Mighty Bosstones - Devil's Night Out
10 Misfits - Devil's Whorehouse
11 45 Grave - Fucked by the Devil
12 Four Letter Word - Coffin Nails
13 Damned - Dead Beat Dance
14 Misfits - Vampira
15 Devil's Brigade - Vampire Girl
16 Misfits - Land of the Dead
17 Misfits - Night of the Living Dead
18 Damned - Nasty
19 Misfits - Dig Up Her Bones
20 Misfits - Monster Mash
21 45 Grave - Evil
22 Misfits - I Turned into a Martian
23 Misfits - Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight
24 Horror Pops - Ghouls
25 Misfits - Skulls
26 Misfits - Walk Among Us
27 Damned - Psychomania
28 Misfits - Pumpkin Head
29 Effigies - Haunted Town
30 Agent Orange - This House is Haunted
31 Freeze - Halloween Night
32 Misfits - Halloween